Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fans in the UK & US raving about DVD

Mai 18, 2009 - Montag 

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars It's Monk Time., May 8, 2009

By Vic "Vic" (USA) - See all my reviews

I'm glad this has been made available through Amazon. I was going to the Play Loud! website regularly to find out when it was coming out.  It's the documentary we've all been waiting for, and a real revelation. So little is known about the Monks, especially in the US -- just that they had a seminal sound and dark, weird presentation. And they were slightly funny, too. Most of all,they influenced all kinds of other bands and have been called the precursor to punk.  My only regret is that the producers were unable to interview the managers of the Monks who set them into motion and were such an influence on their sound and presentation. However, on the plus side, I'm glad they were able to interview all the Monks as two of them have passed away since this documentary was in production.  It's about time that someone made this film.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews  

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes No

Report this Permalink

Comment Comment

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A film that finally does the Monk musical legacy justice., May 8, 2009

By Robert Jaz (Providence, RI United States) - See all my reviews

There was a time when Monks had sadly, for the most part, slipped into musical obscurity. Were it not for the genius that is Mark E. Smith.  Mr. Smith used some Monks songs as a stepping stone, not quite 100% faithful covers, to create some of the great tracks on The Fall's splendid 1990 'Extricate' album. Without 'Extricate,' attention to this band and the subsequent trickle down of new found interest may never had happened with a worldwide audience. Primarily because of The Fall's large cult following, it in turn raised awareness, spawned a reissue of their sole long player 'Black Monk Time' and motivated bass player / vocalist Eddie Shaw to author his recollections about the band in his book also entitled 'Black Monk Time.'  In 1996 I spoke to Eddie Shaw in S.F. when he was signing and selling his book at a music fest. The Fall had been playing over the loudspeakers and I asked him about some of the newer music he liked. Eddie's eyes sparkled and he readily informed me how The Fall was his #1 favorite band. While there are many reasons while anyone would pick The Fall as a favorite, it was also clear how much he appreciated Mark E. Smith's use of Monks material and namedropping to help bring the Monks story to a new audience.  This film is the next wonderful step in bringing even more attention to a well deserving band. Not only well crafted and a visual delight that years of hard work went towards creating, it places Monks into a setting of great contextual/historical interest: The 60's Cold War, Vietnam, and pop art explosion.  The dvd not only contains a large amount of some well thought of extras, but all of the artwork and package make this a must purchase for fans of documentaries, history, art and culture. Not too mention fans of a wide variety of music from '60s to experimental and beyond.  I also have an extended piece written on the Monks and this dvd release, along with trailers and photographs here at this webzine: Enjoy!  [...]

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews  

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes No

Report this Permalink

Comment Comment

 

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Always Wanted To Know About MONKS*...*but didn't know whom to ask, May 8, 2009

By Thomas B. Feddor "tom feddor" (Illinois) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)   

I was working at a hip, cool record store in Evanston, IL in the late 80s. (You know the type of store: the kind that has MONKS records.) The BLACK MONK TIME LP had just been reissued for what I think was the first time. The owner of the store knew about the band, naturally, and played the record for me. Of course, I instantly bought the record and have been a fan ever since.  Just when you think "Well, I love that band, but I guess I'm alone here," along comes someone else who loves the MONKS. And next thing you know, you're part of a cult. Not the kind who thinks aliens are coming to Earth to save the human race and we must buy track suits and await their arrival, but the kind of cult that Robert Altman once described thusly: "Saying a movie [or band] has a cult following just means there's not enough people for a minority." I agree, but who cares? Enough MONKS fans exist that they even reunited on more than one occasion to sell-out crowds.  And after you hear about that, you think the cult's dying down. Then, along comes a documentary about the band.  And what a documentary it is. It's just like the MINUTEMEN documentary a few years back; it tells you everything you want to know about a band, then continues to tell you even more. Then even more. But, like a terrific meal that fills you completely, you find there's room for dessert.  The MONKS documentary, THE TRANSATLANTIC FEEDBACK, is just such a documentary.  And the real tasty part of the film is the live concert footage of the MONKS back in the 60s in Germany. Unbelievable quality. Unbelievable sound. And saying it's a "clip" is misleading. This is not merely a 30 second, bad quality clip. It's the entire show, as originally broadcast back in the 60s. There are 4 entire MONKS songs, shown live from the tiny club in Hamburg.(Oh, those lucky, cool, smart, hip people.) This is what the DVD format was made for. Clips from their first reunion show in New York are present,too, complete with Genesis P-Orridge, the founder of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, espousing the importance of "knowing your roots" as he enters the club to watch the concert as well. Right on, sir. Or ma'am. Back then? Sir. (If you don't understand that, it's for the Industrial Music fans)  The packaging is fantastic, too. This was unquestionably a labor of love for Play Loud, and it's apparent in the quality of the product itself. A slim, DVD-size digi-pak holds the DVD and a great little booklet, as well as a welcome advert for other Play Loud MONKS merch.  This is a film for all types of people: those who love a good documentary; those who love music, all types; but mainly it's for those of us who love THE MONKS. It's such a lovely treat. And now it's there, for all the "cult" to put on a shelf, worship, and watch again and again.  Thank you Play Loud, and thank you Amazon for making it so easily available.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews  

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes No

Report this Permalink

Comment Comment

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Watched on Sundance 5-1-09, May 2, 2009

By Keith Gillis (Franklin, Ohio) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)   

I like to drive people batty with my Monk CD at work. Folks, you either "get it", or you just don't. Music can be an expression or for financial gain. The Monks were definitely an expression. This documentary may help you "get" what it was all about.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews  

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes No

Report this Permalink

Comment Comment

Mai 18, 2009 - Montag 
Kategorie: Musik

 

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Hop to it!, 9 May 2009

By Lindsay Hutton (Scotland) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)   

The fact that a documentary like this exists in the first place is a testament to the influence of the subject and the temerity of the film-makers. The influence of these five GI's pioneering work in deconstructing sound has been recognised and reverberates constantly throughout the oeuvre of much of today's music.  There's no disputing that seeing those Beat Club clips in such great shape indicated just what a force of nature that the monks were.  The way the story is told is a departure from how these things often play out. The guys tell their own story and the talking heads are kept to a minimum. There are many cool extras on this DVD release including the full German TV clips and a great interview with Dave Day.  I think Roger passed away before the film was finished and of course, Dave Day passed since it came out. monk music (note that lower case) has been enjoying something of a roll in the metaphorical hay of late. With many publications lauding their work and it's all as a result of this fine, lovingly-made documentary getting the ball rolling.

Great documentary that reads like a Tony Curtis comedy from hell!

monday, may 18, 2009 Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback I didn’t really understand The Monks the first time I heard them and was never a big fan of their music until I saw the documentary “The Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback” (excellently directed by Lucia Palacios and Dietmar Post) on the Sundance Channel recently. Now I’m totally obsessed with those noisy psychos. “The Transatlantic Feedback” is a great documentary and reads like a Tony Curtis military comedy from Hell. It’s the story of five enlisted men in the Army in Cold War-era West Germany whose infantry duties consisted of washing the General’s car or for bassist Eddie Shaw measuring bazooka artillery projectiles. To pass the time they hit the decadent Berlin club scene (which spawned The Beatles) playing covers as The Torquays. After they’re discharged from the Armed Forces they decided to stay in Germany and continue playing the clubs, catching the eye of two advertising men, Walther and Karl. Walther and Karl molded the boys visually into wearing all black, hangman’s knots for ties, and shaving the middle parts of their heads like ascetic monks, a pretty bizarre reaction to the now popular Beatle haircut. Musically they were molded as well: as Eddie Shaw explains it: “Where there were four chords, you narrow it down to only one. If there were six lines of lyrics, can you shorten it down to only two?” Musical and lyrical minimalism was part of their new order. “Some of their ideas were brilliant”, guitarist-singer Gary Burger recalls, “but some of them were too crazy for us. We had to say at some point, ‘We’re not going to do that!’”. One of the humorous aspects of Walther and Karl’s management was a written manifesto, read laughingly aloud by Shaw: “You must always look, act, move, walk, talk like a Monk, but above all else you will not be a Torquay”. The Monks’ sound was incredibly assaultive with some of the most incendiary feedback-drenched fuzz guitar playing from Gary Burger, hypnotically semaphore organ playing from future IBM exec Larry Clark, and the most bizarre banjo playing in history from Dave Day. Eschewing folksy, melodic playing for violent chord-bashing, Day plays his banjo like a percussive instrument, doubling the beats the drums are pounding. At one point during “Monk Time” he even replicates machine gun sounds on his banjo. Brilliant stuff! And how about “Monk Time”, with the most schizophrenic set of lyrics screamed by Burger, bouncing bipolarisms at the drop of a hat. Anti-war: “Why do you kill all those kids in Vietnam?” Pro-war: “Mad Vietcong! My brother died in Vietnam!” Anti-music: “Stop it! I don’t like it! It’s too loud for my ears!” Pro-music: “What do you mean, Larry? You think like I think, you’re a Monk, I’m a Monk, we’re all Monks!” Talk all you want about hip irony, this was strong shit for 1965 when everybody was groovy. The stern Germanic influence continues on a song with mournful church organ and chanting Monks singing, “Got a reason to laugh, got a reason to cry, be a liar everywhere, Shut Up! Don’t Cry!” and then slipping a little Satanism in Higgle-Die Piggle-Die, “Way down…to Heaven!” The negativity hits a feverish peak with the amazing “I Hate You”, Burger’s voice recalling classic David Lee Roth (tell me I’m wrong!) wailing, “I hate you with a passion baby, My hate’s everlasting baby!” The music never once loses its edge, guitars burning through your eardrums, sleazy organ and that nutty banjo bashing itself into your skull. Once Walther and Karl parted ways as band managers the band slowly unraveled. Onstage fisticuffs, dropping the Monk look, record industry indifference, and drummer Roger Johnston leaving the band led to the guys’ return to the States, with the exception of banjo-guitarist Dave Day running a pub. “If I had stayed in Germany, I probably would have died there”, admits Shaw, emphasizing the vice-crazed “anything goes” lifestyle of decadent Berlin, still crazy after the legendary “Cabaret” era. Looking back in retrospect, the band attempts to whitewash their lyrics by claiming that because of attention focused on “only one song” their music “wasn’t really political” (“Monk Time”) but you can’t get more political than “Complication” with its lines of “people kill for you, people die for you” and the lyrics for “Shut Up” have political connotations (“Be a liar everywhere, Shut up! Don’t cry!”). Burger, Day and Shaw seem to be the most forthcoming in their analysis of the band while Johnston seems very saddened by the experience and Clark is a man of few words, but that’s okay. Walther and Karl, both long believed dead, declined to be interviewed for the film, stating that a manager’s job is to stay in the background. Shit, that’s refreshing! The film ends much like “New York Doll”, the band’s dream of playing New York finally realized by doing a reunion show to scenester celebrities like a pre-op Genesis P. Orridge, Peter Zaremba (Fleshtones), and a super-twitchy Jon Spencer. The band looks thrilled as fuck to be playing again, and fortunately didn’t show signs of losing their edge at all, still playing with an ageless intensity. Burger’s lead guitar lines still boil and Day’s mental case banjo strumming still pounding like a musical jackhammer. Still wearing their legendary black shirts, Dave Day quips “we don’t have to get the hair styles anymore, we already have the bald spots”. Although “The Transatlantic Feedback” is a documentary on one of the most obscure bands in rock directors Palacios and Post did an amazing job with old TV broadcasts, band interviews and Cold War newsreel footage. Shortly after the film wrapped drummer Roger Johnston passed away, but the band continued to play the occasional reunion show in Austria and Germany (clips available on YouTube). Unfortunately, Dave Day passed in January so it seems pretty doubtful the band can really play again, but their mark in rock history is assured. While any band can release one album and disappear, it takes stunning performances and brilliant songwriting to make that one album stay fresh and immortal in people’s minds, and The Monks are one of the small handful of bands that have accomplished just that. It’s always Hop Time, it’s Beat Time, it’s Monk Time. http://blackhairedboy.blogspot.com/2009/05/monks-transatlantic-feedback.html posted by andy 7 at 8:43 pm labels: garage, germany, monks, punk